Fernando Alonso says that Lance Stroll is his “hero” after contesting the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend with injuries he sustained in a pre-season bike crash.
Stroll was ruled out of winter testing after he fractured his wrist, and it was later revealed that he had also broken his toe in the incident.
Despite enduring pain behind the wheel, Stroll opted to compete the season-opening race in Bahrain and drove to a sixth-place finish.
Speaking after the race, Stroll said that the last 20 laps he was “grinding it out to the end”.
Alonso, who captured a podium finish in his maiden race weekend for Aston Martin, heaped praise on his Canadian team-mate.
“He is my hero,” the two-time champion told Sky Sports F1. “If you see his hands and feet, you will think he cannot race.
“He has shown phenomenal effort to the whole team – very inspiring for us to see the determination and motivation from Lance.
“Sometimes, people think he is not motivated to drive but he was very impressive this weekend and a lot of points for the team so he deserves a good podium very soon.”
Stroll’s participation in the race event was in heavy doubt, with reserve driver Felipe Drugovich nominated to replace him if needed.
However, the team confirmed one day before the race weekend got underway that he would be in the car for the event.
When asked if enduring the pain was worth the result, Stroll replied: “Absolutely. It’s a great way to start the season with Fernando on the podium great result
“Yeah I’m happy to pick up six [points] considering everything that happened over the last two weeks.
“I couldn’t move and ten days ago I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t [move] both hands. I was a vegetable pretty much and I didn’t think I would be here right now.
“I’m still just processing everything so it’s amazing to pick up these points, to drive this car. A great start to the season.”